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Who Invented Diabetes?

The History Of Diabetes

The History Of Diabetes

Scientists and physicians have been documenting the condition now known as diabetes for thousands of years. From the origins of its discovery to the dramatic breakthroughs in its treatment, many brilliant minds have played a part in the fascinating history of diabetes. Diabetes: Its Beginnings The first known mention of diabetes symptoms was in 1552 B.C., when Hesy-Ra, an Egyptian physician, documented frequent urination as a symptom of a mysterious disease that also caused emaciation. Also around this time, ancient healers noted that ants seemed to be attracted to the urine of people who had this disease. In 150 AD, the Greek physician Arateus described what we now call diabetes as "the melting down of flesh and limbs into urine." From then on, physicians began to gain a better understanding about diabetes. Centuries later, people known as "water tasters" diagnosed diabetes by tasting the urine of people suspected to have it. If urine tasted sweet, diabetes was diagnosed. To acknowledge this feature, in 1675 the word "mellitus," meaning honey, was added to the name "diabetes," meaning siphon. It wasn't until the 1800s that scientists developed chemical tests to detect the presence of sugar in the urine. Diabetes: Early Treatments As physicians learned more about diabetes, they began to understand how it could be managed. The first diabetes treatment involved prescribed exercise, often horseback riding, which was thought to relieve excessive urination. In the 1700s and 1800s, physicians began to realize that dietary changes could help manage diabetes, and they advised their patients to do things like eat only the fat and meat of animals or consume large amounts of sugar. During the Franco-Prussian War of the early 1870s, the French physician Apollinaire Bouchardat noted Continue reading >>

History Of Diabetes

History Of Diabetes

Frederick Banting (right) joined by Charles Best in office, 1924 Diabetes is one of the first diseases described[1] with an Egyptian manuscript from c. 1500 BCE mentioning “too great emptying of the urine.”[2] The first described cases are believed to be of type 1 diabetes.[2] Indian physicians around the same time identified the disease and classified it as madhumeha or honey urine noting that the urine would attract ants.[2] The term "diabetes" or "to pass through" was first used in 250 BC by the Greek Apollonius of Memphis.[2] Type 1 and type 2 diabetes were identified as separate conditions for the first time by the Indian physicians Sushruta and Charaka in 400-500 CE with type 1 associated with youth and type 2 with obesity.[2] The term "mellitus" or "from honey" was added by Thomas Willis in the late 1600s to separate the condition from diabetes insipidus which is also associated with frequent urination.[2] Further history[edit] Plaque in Strasbourg commemorating the 1889 discovery by Minkowski and Von Mering The first complete clinical description of diabetes was given by the Ancient Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia (fl. 1st century CE), who also noted the excessive amount of urine which passed through the kidneys.”[3] Diabetes mellitus appears to have been a death sentence in the ancient era. Hippocrates makes no mention of it, which may indicate that he felt the disease was incurable. Aretaeus did attempt to treat it but could not give a good prognosis; he commented that "life (with diabetes) is short, disgusting and painful."[4] The disease must have been rare during the time of the Roman empire with Galen commenting that he had only seen two cases during his career.[2] In medieval Persia, Avicenna (980–1037) provided a detailed account on diabet Continue reading >>

Nicolae Paulescu - First Person To Discove Insulin (pancreine)

Nicolae Paulescu - First Person To Discove Insulin (pancreine)

Nicolae Paulescu was a Romanian scientist who claimed to have been the first person to discover insulin, which he called pancreine. When Frederick Banting and John James Rikard Macleod were awarded the 1922 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for creating usable insulin, Paulescu wrote to the Nobel Prize committee claiming that he had discovered and used insulin first. His claims were rejected, but thanks to a British professor called Ian Murray Paulescus achievements are now recognised as being significant in the history of insulin . He became fascinated with physics and chemistry as he grew up and, upon graduating from the Mihai Viteazul High School in Bucharest in 1888, moved to Paris and enrolled in medical school. Paulescu graduated with a Doctor of Medicine degree and was soon appointed assistant surgeon at the Notre-Dame du Perptuel-Secours Hospital in 1897. Three years later he returned to Romania where he served as Head of the Physiology Department of the University of Bucharest Medical School. He remained in this position until his death in 1931 In 1916, Paulescu developed an aqueous (watery) pancreatic extract which, when injected into a dog with diabetes, had a normalising effect on its blood sugar levels . Paulescus pancreine was an extract of bovine pancreas in salted water, purified with hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide. Shortly after, Paulescu was called to service in the Romanian Army during World War I, returning in 1921. He then wrote an extensive whitepaper about the effect of the extract, titled Research on the role of the pancreas in food assimilation, which was published in August 1921. Paulescu secured the patent rights for his method of manufacturing pancreine on April 10 1922 by the Romanian Ministry of Industry and Trade patent no. Continue reading >>

History Of Diabetes

History Of Diabetes

Origin of the term ‘diabetes’ The term diabetes is the shortened version of the full name diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is derived from the Greek word diabetes meaning siphon - to pass through and the Latin word mellitus meaning honeyed or sweet. This is because in diabetes excess sugar is found in blood as well as the urine. It was known in the 17th century as the “pissing evil”. The term diabetes was probably coined by Apollonius of Memphis around 250 BC. Diabetes is first recorded in English, in the form diabete, in a medical text written around 1425. It was in 1675 that Thomas Willis added the word “'mellitus'” to the word diabetes. This was because of the sweet taste of the urine. This sweet taste had been noticed in urine by the ancient Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, and Persians as is evident from their literature. History of the treatment of diabetes Sushruta, Arataeus, and Thomas Willis were the early pioneers of the treatment of diabetes. Greek physicians prescribed exercise - preferably on horseback to alleviate excess urination. Some other forms of therapy applied to diabetes include wine, overfeeding to compensate for loss of fluid weight, starvation diet, etc. In 1776, Matthew Dobson confirmed that the sweet taste of urine of diabetics was due to excess of a kind of sugar in the urine and blood of people with diabetes. In ancient times and medieval ages diabetes was usually a death sentence. Aretaeus did attempt to treat it but could not give a good outcome. Sushruta (6th century BCE) an Indian healer identified diabetes and classified it as “Madhumeha”. Here the word “madhu” means honey and combined the term means sweet urine. The ancient Indians tested for diabetes by looking at whether ants were attracted to a person's u Continue reading >>

Frederick Banting’s Discovery Of Insulin In The 1920s Saved A Child's Life. It’s Still Saving Lives.

Frederick Banting’s Discovery Of Insulin In The 1920s Saved A Child's Life. It’s Still Saving Lives.

Toban B. / Flickr In the 1800s, the life expectancy for a 10-year-old child with Type 1 diabetes was about one year. Now people with Type 1 diabetes can expect to live around 68 years on average. One big reason why: the discovery of the hormone insulin by a team led by Frederick Banting, an early-20th-century scientist from Canada, which revolutionized treatment for the disease. Today, we celebrate Banting’s 125th birthday with a Google Doodle in his honor and with World Diabetes Day. Banting and his colleagues cracked a mystery that was thousands of years old Diabetes is one of the first human diseases on record. Ancient Egyptian manuscripts from as far back as 1500 BC mention a disease “characterized by the ‘too great emptying of urine.’” Around 500 BC, an Indian physician described patients with urine so sweet and sticky it attracted ants. These ancient reports were likely of Type 1 diabetes, the autoimmune version of the disease where antibodies damage the cells in the pancreas that secrete insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for taking sugar out of the bloodstream and transferring it into the body’s cells, where it can be used for energy. When the body stops making insulin, blood sugar rises. And unchecked high blood sugar can lead to a range of complications — from deteriorating eyesight to nerve damage to the buildup of chemicals called ketones in the blood. Ketones at high levels can be poisonous, causing the blood to turn acidic. (In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still produces insulin, but the body has become resistant to its effects. It’s a metabolic disease, rather than an autoimmune disease.) While ancient physicians recognized that the disease was a result of mismanagement of the body’s sugar, they didn’t know what caused it. (D Continue reading >>

The History Of A Wonderful Thing We Call Insulin

The History Of A Wonderful Thing We Call Insulin

Since the dawn of time, we have searched for ways to make life easier for us. The modern age has given us some amazing technological advances—what we would do without the internet, our iPhones or high-speed travel? For many people, surviving life without these things sounds rough. However, if you have diabetes, no doubt you’re also a big fan of one particular 20th-century discovery: insulin. Before insulin was discovered in 1921, people with diabetes didn’t live for long; there wasn’t much doctors could do for them. The most effective treatment was to put patients with diabetes on very strict diets with minimal carbohydrate intake. This could buy patients a few extra years but couldn’t save them. Harsh diets (some prescribed as little as 450 calories a day!) sometimes even caused patients to die of starvation. So how did this wonderful breakthrough blossom? Let’s travel back a little more than 100 years ago.… In 1889, two German researchers, Oskar Minkowski and Joseph von Mering, found that when the pancreas gland was removed from dogs, the animals developed symptoms of diabetes and died soon afterward. This led to the idea that the pancreas was the site where “pancreatic substances” (insulin) were produced. Later experimenters narrowed this search to the islets of Langerhans (a fancy name for clusters of specialized cells in the pancreas). In 1910, Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Shafer suggested only one chemical was missing from the pancreas in people with diabetes. He decided to call this chemical insulin, which comes for the Latin word insula, meaning “island.” So what happened next? Something truly miraculous. In 1921, a young surgeon named Frederick Banting and his assistant Charles Best figured out how to remove insulin from a dog’s pancreas. S Continue reading >>

The History Of Diabetes

The History Of Diabetes

For 2,000 years diabetes has been recognized as a devastating and deadly disease. In the first century A.D. a Greek, Aretaeus, described the destructive nature of the affliction which he named “diabetes” from the Greek word for “siphon.” Eugene J. Leopold in his text Aretaeus the Cappodacian describes Aretaeus’ diagnosis: “…For fluids do not remain in the body, but use the body only as a channel through which they may flow out. Life lasts only for a time, but not very long. For they urinate with pain and painful is the emaciation. For no essential part of the drink is absorbed by the body while great masses of the flesh are liquefied into urine.” Physicians in ancient times, like Aretaeus, recognized the symptoms of diabetes but were powerless to effectively treat it. Aretaeus recommended oil of roses, dates, raw quinces, and gruel. And as late as the 17th century, doctors prescribed “gelly of viper’s flesh, broken red coral, sweet almonds, and fresh flowers of blind nettles.” Early Discoveries-Human Guinea Pigs In the 17th century a London physician, Dr. Thomas Willis, determined whether his patients had diabetes or not by sampling their urine. If it had a sweet taste he would diagnose them with diabetes mellitus- “honeyed” diabetes. This method of monitoring blood sugars went largely unchanged until the 20th century. Despite physicians’ valiant efforts to combat diabetes, their patients remained little more than human guinea pigs. In the early 20th century, diabetologists such as Dr. Frederick Allen prescribed low calorie diets-as little as 450 calories per day for his patients. His diet prolonged the life of people with diabetes but kept them weak and suffering from near starvation. In effect, the most a person afflicted with diabetes coul Continue reading >>

History Of Diabetes: Past Treatments And New Discoveries

History Of Diabetes: Past Treatments And New Discoveries

Diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels. It affects millions of people around the world. Research into diabetes is ongoing but diabetes is simple to manage for most people. Since diabetes was first discovered, there have been huge improvements in the way it is treated. This article looks at the history of diabetes and how these treatments developed. Contents of this article: Diabetes affects blood sugar levels The body gets energy from sugar (glucose), which is broken down from the food people eat. Diabetes affects insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that helps in the process of using this sugar efficiently. People with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin. People who have type 2 diabetes do produce insulin, but their body is unable to use it efficiently. When a person has diabetes, the lack of insulin or the body's inability to use it properly, causes sugar to stay in the blood rather than entering the cells to be used for energy. This excess sugar in the blood results in higher than normal blood sugar levels. Having high blood sugar levels for an extended period can cause serious and even life-threatening problems. However, there are many ways the condition can be managed so that these problems are avoided. Early science around diabetes Understanding the history of diabetes and how it was first treated can help us to appreciate how well it is understood and managed today. Discovery of diabetes The full name for diabetes is diabetes mellitus. This term comes from the Greek word "diabetes" (to siphon or pass through) and the Latin word "mellitus" (honey or sweet). The first use of the term "diabetes" can be traced back to Apollonius of Memphis around 250 BC. The first English record of diabetes in a medical text occurred aro Continue reading >>

Who Really Discovered Insulin?

Who Really Discovered Insulin?

For people with diabetes mellitus, the year 1921 is a meaningful one. That was the year Canadian physician Frederick Banting and medical student Charles H. Best discovered the hormone insulin in pancreatic extracts of dogs. On July 30, 1921, they injected the hormone into a diabetic dog and found that it effectively lowered the dog’s blood glucose levels to normal. By the end of that year, with the help of Canadian chemist James B. Collip and Scottish physiologist J.J.R. Macleod, Banting and Best purified insulin, and the next year it was used to successfully treat a boy suffering from severe diabetes. The researchers were celebrated and honored for their breakthrough. Banting and MacLeod even shared the 1923 Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for their work. Indeed, they were the “discoverers” of insulin. But the story of the discovery of insulin actually begins much earlier than 1921. According to Britannica’s pharmaceutical industry article: In 1869 Paul Langerhans, a medical student in Germany, was studying the histology of the pancreas. He noted that this organ has two distinct types of cells—acinar cells, now known to secrete digestive enzymes, and islet cells (now called islets of Langerhans). The function of islet cells was suggested in 1889 when German physiologist and pathologist Oskar Minkowski and German physician Joseph von Mering showed that removing the pancreas from a dog caused the animal to exhibit a disorder quite similar to human diabetes mellitus (elevated blood glucose and metabolic changes). After this discovery, a number of scientists in various parts of the world attempted to extract the active substance from the pancreas so that it could be used to treat diabetes. One of those scientists was Romanian physiologist Nicolas C. Paule Continue reading >>

New Diabetes Treatment Could Eliminate Need For Insulin Injections

New Diabetes Treatment Could Eliminate Need For Insulin Injections

A cell-based diabetes treatment has been developed by scientists who say it could eliminate the need for those with the condition to inject insulin. The therapy involves a capsule of genetically engineered cells implanted under the skin that automatically release insulin as required. Diabetic mice that were treated with the cells were found to have normal blood sugar levels for several weeks. Scientists said they hope to obtain a clinical trial licence to test the technology in patients within two years. If successful, the treatment would be relevant for all type 1 diabetes patients, as well as those cases of type 2 diabetes that require insulin injections. Martin Fussenegger, who led the research at the ETH university in Basel, said: “By 2040, every tenth human on the planet will suffer from some kind of diabetes, that’s dramatic. We should be able to do a lot better than people measuring their glucose.” Fussenegger said that, if confirmed as safe and effective in humans, diabetes patients could be given an implant that would need to be replaced three times a year rather than injections, which do not perfectly control blood sugar levels, leading to long-term complications including eye, nerve and heart damage. In Britain, about 400,000 people have type 1 diabetes and three million have type 2 diabetes, about 10% of whom need to inject insulin to control the condition. Type 1 diabetes normally begins in childhood and is an autoimmune disease in which the body kills off all its pancreatic beta cells. The cells respond to the body’s fluctuating glucose levels by releasing insulin, which regulates blood sugar. Without beta cells, patients need to monitor glucose and inject insulin as required – typically several times each day. Previously, scientists have attempt Continue reading >>

The Past 200 Years In Diabetes

The Past 200 Years In Diabetes

Diabetes was first recognized around 1500 B.C.E. by the ancient Egyptians, who considered it a rare condition in which a person urinated excessively and lost weight. The term diabetes mellitus, reflecting the fact that the urine of those affected had a sweet taste, was first used by the Greek physician Aretaeus, who lived from about 80 to 138 C.E. It was not until 1776, however, that Matthew Dobson actually measured the concentration of glucose in the urine of such patients and found it to be increased. 1 Table 1. Nobel Prizes for Diabetes-Related Research. Diabetes was a recognized clinical entity when the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery was founded in 1812. Its prevalence at the time was not documented, and essentially nothing was known about the mechanisms responsible for the disease. No effective treatment was available, and diabetes was uniformly fatal within weeks to months after its diagnosis owing to insulin deficiency. In the intervening 200 years, major fundamental advances have been made in our understanding of the underlying causes of diabetes and the approach to its prevention and treatment (see timeline, available with the full text of this article at NEJM.org). Although diabetes is still associated with a reduced life expectancy, the outlook for patients with this disease has improved dramatically, and patients usually lead active and productive lives for many decades after the diagnosis has been made. Many effective therapies are available for treating hyperglycemia and its complications. The study of diabetes and related aspects of glucose metabolism has been such fertile ground for scientific inquiry that 10 scientists have received the Nobel Prize for diabetes-related investigations since 1923 ( Table 1 ). Thus, as a result of the efforts Continue reading >>

History Of Diabetes Mellitus.

History Of Diabetes Mellitus.

Abstract Clinical features similar to diabetes mellitus were described 3000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians. The term "diabetes" was first coined by Araetus of Cappodocia (81-133AD). Later, the word mellitus (honey sweet) was added by Thomas Willis (Britain) in 1675 after rediscovering the sweetness of urine and blood of patients (first noticed by the ancient Indians). It was only in 1776 that Dobson (Britain) firstly confirmed the presence of excess sugar in urine and blood as a cause of their sweetness. In modern time, the history of diabetes coincided with the emergence of experimental medicine. An important milestone in the history of diabetes is the establishment of the role of the liver in glycogenesis, and the concept that diabetes is due to excess glucose production Claude Bernard (France) in 1857. The role of the pancreas in pathogenesis of diabetes was discovered by Mering and Minkowski (Austria) 1889. Later, this discovery constituted the basis of insulin isolation and clinical use by Banting and Best (Canada) in 1921. Trials to prepare an orally administrated hypoglycemic agent ended successfully by first marketing of tolbutamide and carbutamide in 1955. This report will also discuss the history of dietary management and acute and chronic complications of diabetes. Continue reading >>

The Discovery Of Insulin

The Discovery Of Insulin

Before the discovery of insulin, diabetes was a feared disease that most certainly led to death. Doctors knew that sugar worsened the condition of diabetic patients and that the most effective treatment was to put the patients on very strict diets where sugar intake was kept to a minimum. At best, this treatment could buy patients a few extra years, but it never saved them. In some cases, the harsh diets even caused patients to die of starvation. During the nineteenth century, observations of patients who died of diabetes often showed that the pancreas was damaged. In 1869, a German medical student, Paul Langerhans, found that within the pancreatic tissue that produces digestive juices there were clusters of cells whose function was unknown. Some of these cells were eventually shown to be the insulin-producing beta cells. Later, in honor of the person who discovered them, the cell clusters were named the islets of Langerhans. In 1889 in Germany, physiologist Oskar Minkowski and physician Joseph von Mering, showed that if the pancreas was removed from a dog, the animal got diabetes. But if the duct through which the pancreatic juices flow to the intestine was ligated - surgically tied off so the juices couldn't reach the intestine - the dog developed minor digestive problems but no diabetes. So it seemed that the pancreas must have at least two functions: To produce digestive juices To produce a substance that regulates the sugar glucose This hypothetical internal secretion was the key. If a substance could actually be isolated, the mystery of diabetes would be solved. Progress, however, was slow. Banting's Idea In October 1920 in Toronto, Canada, Dr. Frederick Banting, an unknown surgeon with a bachelor's degree in medicine, had the idea that the pancreatic digestive ju Continue reading >>

The Discovery Of Type 1 Diabetes

The Discovery Of Type 1 Diabetes

The etiological heterogeneity of idiopathic diabetes has been recognized for 25 years, and subdivision into type 1 and type 2 diabetes is fundamental to the way we think about the disease. Review of the literature suggests that the concept of type 1 diabetes as an immunemediated disease emerged rapidly over the period from 1974 to 1976 and showed many of the features of a classic paradigm shift. A few key observations triggered recognition and acceptance of the new paradigm, but the necessary context was provided by scientific developments in areas mainly unrelated to diabetes. The disease paradigm established by 1976 is still widely accepted, and its essential features have been modified only in detail by the revolution in molecular biology that has occurred over the intervening period. Notwithstanding, some of the underlying assumptions remain imprecise, unchallenged, or unconfirmed. Appreciation of the historical origin and subsequent evolution of these fundamental concepts could stimulate critical analysis and help prepare the way for a new paradigm. “The history of modern knowledge is concerned in no small degree with man's attempt to escape from his previous concepts.” The word “paradigm” has the root meaning “to show side by side” and is used when an ideal or theoretical model is held up against reality. The historian Thomas Kuhn has pointed out that groups of scientists working within an area form loosely interwoven communities with a common working map, or paradigm (1a). As he put it, “A paradigm is what the members of a scientific community share, and, conversely, a scientific community consists of men who share a paradigm.” Scientific communities can be surprisingly resistant to new ideas or data that do not fit the accepted model, and change, Continue reading >>

Treating Diabetes: 1921 To The Present Day

Treating Diabetes: 1921 To The Present Day

The lives of people with diabetes has changed considerably in 50 years. They now have specific tools and easier access to information than ever before. The healthcare professionals who treat them also know more about the complexity of the disease, and which treatments work best. Pending the next medical revolution, Diabetes Québec is demanding the implementation of a national strategy to fight diabetes – a strategy founded on education, prevention, support and treatment. The last 60 years have clearly demonstrated that people with diabetes who are well informed, properly supported and treated appropriately live longer lives in better health. The discovery of insulin and glycemic control Insulin, discovered in 1921 by the legendary Banting, Best and MacLeod collaboration, is nothing short of a miracle. Worldwide, it has saved thousands of patients from certain death. Before the discovery of insulin, diabetics were doomed. Even on a strict diet, they could last no more than three or four years. However, despite the many types of insulin and the first oral hypoglycemic agents that came to market around 1957 in Canada, glycemia control – the control of blood glucose (sugar) levels – still remains an imprecise science. In the 1950s, the method a person used to control his blood glucose levels was to drop a reagent tablet into a small test tube containing a few drops of urine mixed with water. The resulting colour – from dark blue to orange – indicated the amount of sugar in the urine. Even when they monitored their patients closely, doctors realized that blood glucose levels had to be much better controlled in order to delay the major complications significantly affecting their patients’ lives: blindness, kidney disease, gangrene, heart attack and stroke. A disc Continue reading >>

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